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Art + History: Gassed by John Singer Sargent

Daytime Program

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0032
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Gassed, John Sargent, 1919, detail (Imperial War Museum, London)


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.

Great art is timeless, and speaks to us across time, culture and space. Yet great works come from real people living real lives—whether their work was made 5 minutes or 500 years ago. Popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw looks at great works of art in their historical context. He delves into the time of the artist, explores the present they inhabited, and what shaped their vision and creations.

Six months before the end of World War I, the British War Memorials Committee commissioned American expatriate painter John Singer Sargent for a painting to be included in a proposed Hall of Remembrance. Sargent went to the Western front and witnessed the aftermath of a German gas attack on the British infantry. His monumental work, Gassed, depicts the multitude of wounded at a dressing station, many of them blinded. Glenshaw moves from the parlors of society where Sargent built his reputation as a portraitist to the trenches of World War I where he saw firsthand the horrors of the first industrialized war and its unparalleled destruction. How could a world of such refinement also execute such cruelty?

Glenshaw is an artist, educator, author, and filmmaker with more than 25 years' experience working across disciplines in the arts, history, and sciences. He teaches drawing for Smithsonian Associates and studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Art and History Lectures

If you are interested in additional Art + History lectures, view the upcoming schedule:

Patron Information

  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.